ABF driver awarded for helping accident victims on rainy night

ABF tractor-trailer (background), driver Warren Brownlee (foreground).

A professional trucker with ArcBest-owned ABF Freight System, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACRB) was awarded last month for stopping to help a young driver who lost control of his vehicle on a busy, wet highway in Texas.

“I would hope that if it were my kids, that someone would stop and help them.” – Warren Brownlee, ABF Freight

One evening shortly after Thanksgiving 2019, Warren Brownlee was on Interstate 30, heading out of Dallas on his way to Little Rock, Arkansas. It was dark and rainy, and the roads were a bit slick. He had only driven a couple miles when he came around a curve and saw a black pickup truck sitting sideways in the far left lane, unable to move. The pickup’s rear end was butted up against the median and the passenger side was facing oncoming traffic with its nose extending into the middle lane.

“It was a black truck on a black night on black pavement,” Brownlee told the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). “I realized someone was going to hit it.”

He slowed down and carefully positioned his tractor and two trailers into a modified serpentine, or “S,” configuration in order to protect the pickup truck and its two occupants, who were standing outside the truck by this time. Brownlee then called 9-1-1.

Warren Brownlee (left) of ABF Freight receiving his Highway Angel award. (Image: TCA)

The driver of the pickup was a young male who was with his girlfriend. Brownlee said they looked like they were just 16 or 17 years old. The young man shook Brownlee’s hand and thanked him for stopping, explaining that he lost control on the slick pavement. Brownlee said he was impressed by the young man’s gesture.

The teen driver’s father got to the scene a short while later and also thanked Brownlee for stopping and helping. In doing so, he was able to prevent the situation from becoming far worse. Brownlee was humble about what he did.

“I would hope that if it were my kids, that someone would stop and help them,” Brownlee said. 

For him, the instinct to stop and help was natural, and the situation was personal. Brownlee’s daughter was killed a couple years ago in a traffic accident. The other driver was allegedly under the influence of a chemical substance.

For his willingness to assist his fellow drivers, TCA presented Brownlee with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. His employer, ABF, also received a certificate acknowledging its driver as a Highway Angel. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy and courage they have displayed while on the job. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.